Great Expectations (2012)

The Great Expectations Movie Poster featuring Ralph Fiennes as Magwitch, Jeremy Irvine as Pip, Holliday Grainger as Estella and Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham

Great Expectations Movie Poster © Lionsgate

Directed By: Mike Newell

Written By: Charles Dickens (Novel) & David Nicholls (Adaptation)

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Jeremy Irvine, Holliday Grainger, David Walliams, Jason Flemyng

Production company: BBC Films

Kent Locations Used: St Thomas A Beckett Church in Fairfield, Swale Nature Reserve Shellness, Oare and Elmley Marshes, Stangate Creek, The Historic Dockyard Chatham and Thames and Medway Canal

At the end of the celebratory Charles Dickens bicentenary year, a new feature film adaptation of Great Expectations hits the silver screen. The classic story charts the progress of orphan Pip whose life is changed forever when local spinster Miss Havisham invites him into her home to become a companion to her adopted daughter Estella and a mysterious patron then pays for him to travel to London and become a gentleman. Directed by BAFTA award winning Mike Newell and featuring a stellar cast this is one of the must see films of 2012!

The host of familiar faces include Jeremy Irvine (War Horse) who plays Pip, Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter series) as convict Abel Magwitch and Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech, Alice in Wonderland) plays the tragic Miss Havisham. They star alongside Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter series) Jason Flemyng (X-Men) and comedian David Walliams (Little Britain). 

Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham in a brides outfit

Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham © Lionsgate

Since Charles Dickens has many strong connections with Kent, the county’s varied landscapes inspiring the settings of many of his novels, the production chose to shoot at a variety of Kent locations.

The picturesque St Thomas A Beckett Church in Fairfield was a perfect location for the first meeting between Pip and escaped convict Abel Magwitch as it stands isolated on the Romney Marsh and epitomises the bleak and mysterious setting described in the novel. This is not the first time the church has been used for filming as it has previously featured in Parades End (2012) and the BBC’s 2011/2012 adaption of Great Expectations.

Swale Nature Reserve, Shellness is a small coastal region on the Isle of Sheppey which is home to several private properties, a secluded beach and a WWII lookout on a remote part of the island and was used to film a childhood montage featuring young Pip playing along the beach. Shellness has been previously used as a filming location by Strawberry Fields (2012).

The Oare Marshes in Faversham were used as the setting for the blacksmith’s forge. Managed by the Kent Wildlife Trust they are part of an 81 hectare stretch of marshland, freshwater dykes, sea wall and salt marsh and were previously used by independent film The Hide (2009).

Behind the scenes with soliders filming at Oare Marshes

Behind the scenes of Great Expectations filming at Oare Marshes © Kent Film Office

 

Film crew shooting at Oare Marshes

Behind the scenes of Great Expectations filming at Oare Marshes © Kent Film Office

The Great Expectations team also used the Historic Dockyard in Chatham to shoot a warehouse scene with Pip and Herbert at the end of the film. A popular filming location, the Historic Dockyard in Chatham has also welcomed productions such as the 2013 feature film adaption of Les Miserables ,Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) and BBC’S Oliver Twist (2007).

Elmley Marshes, Stangate Creek and the Thames and Medway Canal were also featured as various marshland locations, including the final dramatic escape sequence featuring Magwitch in a chase scene.

Don’t miss Great Expectations which is set for cinema release on 30th November 2012.

 

 

Links

For more information on filming in Kent please contact: filmoffice@kent.gov.uk  

For more information about the film: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1836808/

For more behind the scenes images: http://brochures.moviesite.biz/view/kent/Behind_the_Scenes_with_Great_Expectations_at_Oare_Marshes.html

For information about the various locations: http://www.visitkent.co.uk/

For more information about the Kent Film Office Dickens Trail: http://kentfilmoffice.co.uk/moviemap/dickens-movie-trail/

MMFor more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map: http://kentfilmoffice.co.uk/kent-movie-map/moviemap-live-2/


Great Expectations (2011)

 

Great Expectations featuring Douglas Booth, Ray Winstone, Gillian Anderson, David Suchet and Vanessa Kirby

Great Expectations featuring Douglas Booth, Ray Winstone, Gillian Anderson, David Suchet and Vanessa Kirby © BBC

Directed By: Brian Kirk

Written By: Charles Dickens (Novel) & Sarah Phelps (Adaptation)

Starring: Gillian Anderson, David Suchet, Ray Winstone, Douglas Booth & Harry Lloyd.

Production Company: BBC and Masterpiece co-production

Kent Locations Used: St Thomas A Beckett Church in Fairfield

This three part mini-series based on Charles Dickens novel, Great Expectations has been adapted by writer, Sarah Phelps (Oliver Twist, Dickensian). The story centers on orphan Pip (Douglas Booth) and his transformation to becoming a gentlemen when a mysterious benefactor leaves him a large sum of money.

This BBC production was directed by Brian Kirk (Luther, Game of Thrones) and stars Douglas Booth (Noah, Jupiter Ascending), Ray Winstone (The Departed, Snow White and the Huntsman), Gillian Anderson (The X Files, Hannibal) and David Suchet (Agatha Christie’s Poirot, The Bank Job).

This adaption forms the centrepiece of the BBC’s celebration of Dickens as we move into 2012 and the bicentenary of his birth.  The most recent version of the novel to have been shot by the BBC was in 1999 and starred Ioan Gruffudd as Pip and Charlottte Rampling as Miss Havisham. This version aims to capture the romance whilst giving it a thrilling edge.

For those unfamiliar with the story, it tells of young orphan Phillip Pirrip (Pip) who lives with his sister and her husband, the kindly blacksmith Joe Gargery. Local spinster Miss Havisham requests his company at her home where she entertains herself by encouraging her adopted daughter Estella to be cruel to the young boy.  As he grows up, Pip’s circumstances change after the visit from Mr Jaggers who brings news that an unknown benefactor has left a substantial fortune on the condition that the boy is educated as a gentleman. Consequently, Pip travels to London where he lodges with Herbert Pocket, a boy from his youth and it is there that Pip finally learns the truth about his benefactor.

The filming for this adaption took place near Fairfield, at the isolated St Thomas Becket Church, which is situated on Romney Marsh. This iconic location was the ideal setting for the opening scenes, where Pip visits his parent’s graves and instantly the theme is set in a melancholy manner. Dickens found inspiration for this scene from another Kentish Church, St James’ at Cooling, on the marshes near the Hoo Peninsula.

An interesting piece of trivia for Dickens fans of Dickens is the fact that the role of Herbert Pocket, Pip’s friend in London, is played by none other than Charles Dickens’s great, great, great grandson Harry Lloyd, who also featured in a remake of David Copperfield starring a young Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter). Filming took place near Fairfield, at the isolated St Thomas A Becket Church. Situated on Romney Marsh, it was the perfect setting for the bleak opening scenes of the novel where Pip visits the graves of his parents. Another Kentish church, St James’ at Cooling on the marshes near the Hoo Peninsula , inspired Dickens to write this dramatic scene which also introduces Pip’s nemesis, prisoner Magwitch.

Great Expectations also features in the Kent Film Office Dickens Trail which lauched in 2012: http://kentfilmoffice.co.uk/kent-movie-map/dickens-movie-trail/ 

Great Expectations aired on BBC1 from Tuesday 27 December 2011 at 9pm and is now available for DVD purchase.

Links

For more information about filming in Kent please contact: filmoffice@kent.gov.uk

For more information about the programme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b018wmhr

For more information about Thomas A Becket Church in Fairfield: http://www.visitkent.co.uk/attractions/st-thomas-becket-church—fairfield/176257

For more inspiration about St James’ Church in Cooling: http://www.coolingchurch.org.uk/page2.htm

For more information about the Kent Film Office Dickens Trail: http://kentfilmoffice.co.uk/kent-movie-map/dickens-movie-trail/

MMFor more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map: http://kentfilmoffice.co.uk/kent-movie-map/moviemap-live-2/


Great Expectations (1999)

Joe Gargery (Clive Russell ) carrying Young Pip (Gabriel Thomson) across the marshes on his back. Soldiers in a red uniform accompany them

Joe Gargery (Clive Russell ) and Young Pip (Gabriel Thomson) © BBC

Directed By: Julian Jarrold

Written By: Charles Dickens (Novel) & Tony Marchant (Adaptation)

Starring: Ioan Gruffudd, Charlotte Rampling, Justine Waddell, Clive Russell

Production Company: BBC, WGBH

Kent Locations Used: Sheerness Docks, Kingswear Castle Paddlesteamer, Chatham Docks & River Medway

Surrounded by memorabilia from her ill-fated wedding, Ms Havisham invites local orphan Pip to her home to amuse her as she encourages her spiteful daughter Estella to break his heart. Pip’s future as a blacksmith is forever changed when an unknown sponsor pays for him to become a gentleman.

Starring Ioan Gruffudd (Fantastic Four) as Pip, Charlotte Rampling (The Duchess) as Miss Havisham and Justine Waddell (Killing Bono) as Estella, this is the first BBC adaptation of the classic Dickens tale and was originally aired in 1999.

Young Pip (Gabriel Thompson) and Young Biddy (Laura Aikman) in Great Expectations 1999 sitting against the base of a turned up boat on the marshes amongst some fishing gear.

Young Pip (Gabriel Thompson) and Young Biddy (Laura Aikman) in Great Expectations 1999 © BBC

Filmed in a variety of Kent Locations, the BBC brought Great Expectations back to the county where it was originally conceived by Dickens.  Herbert Pocket’s bride to be, Clara, provides a refuge for reformed convict Abel Magwitch at Sheerness Docks where exterior shots of her house were filmed. Pip and Herbert Pocket arrange to meet Magwitch and help his escape at Chatham Docks, where slip 8 was used for the scene and exterior shots of the prison hulk ships.

The dramatic scene where Magwitch attempts to escape is well known to fans of the Dickens classic. The local Paddle steamer, “Kingswear Castle”, was used for the scenes and the production company used Stangate Creek on the River Medway for shots of the ship on the Thames Estuary. The Kingswear Castle also features in the 1998 BBC adaptation of Dickens last novel, Our Mutual Friend, starring Anna Friel and Paul McGann.

Dickens’ features Kent locations in many of his novels. The city of Rochester, which holds annual Dickens celebrations each year, can be recognised in many of the author’s novels such as The Mystery of Edwin Drood, The Pickwick Papers and David Copperfield. The Kent Film Office celebrates Dickens history with the county including Tv and film adaptions in The Dickens Trail.

Great Expectations was shown on BBC in 1999 and is now available to buy on DVD.

Links

For more information about filming in Kent please contact: filmoffice@kent.gov.uk

For more information about the Kent Film Office Dickens Trail: http://kentfilmoffice.co.uk/moviemap/dickens-movie-trail/

For more information about the film: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0167187/

For more information about Sheerness Docks: https://www.peelports.com/ports/london-medway

For more information about The River Medway: http://www.visitmedway.org

MMFor more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map: http://kentfilmoffice.co.uk/kent-movie-map/moviemap-live-2/

 


Great Expectations (1989)

 

Great Expectations Movieposter 1989

Great Expectations Movieposter 1989 © Buena Vista Television

Director: Kevin Connor

Writers: Charles Dickens (Novel)

Starring: Kim Thompson, Jean Simmons, Anthony Calf & Anthony Hopkins

Production Company: Harlech Television (HTV), Primetime Television Ltd., Tesauro Television, Walt Disney Television

Kent Locations Used: Harty Church, Rochester, Chatham, Upnor village

With a future as a blacksmith before him, Pip is invited to the home of the lonely spinster, Miss Havisham, abandoned on the day of her wedding. Encouraging her adopted daughter Estella to break the young boy’s heart, Pip is sent there for her own entertainment. The young boy’s fortunes change when an unknown and generous person pays for Pip to travel to London and begin a new life as a gentleman.

Starring Kim Thompson (Emmerdale Farm, 1408) as Estella, Jean Simmons (Spartacus) as the haunting Miss Havisham, Anthony Calf (New Tricks) as Pip and Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs, Thor) as Abel Magwitch, this Disney adaptation of the Dickens classic features many Kent locations.

Filming took place at Harty Church on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent: young Orphan Phillip (Pip) Pirrup, on a visit to the graves of his parents, meets the sinister escaped convict Abel Magwitch.  The church has part-Norman origins and is visited by both tourists and historians from around the world.

The crew also came to Upnor village to film, which provides the home of Herbert Pockets’ fiancée Clara’s house. Locals to the area will notice the Upnor Lighthouse as Pip docks in the village.

Another Kentish church, St James’ church in Cooling, which is situated on the marshes near the Hoo Peninsula, inspired Dickens so much, he used the location for the dramatic scene where Pip meets prisoner Magwitch.

Links

For more information on filming in Kent please contact: filmoffice@kent.gov.uk

For more information about Harty Church: http://www.hartychurch.org.uk/index2.html

For more information about Medway: http://www.visitmedway.org/

MMFor more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map: http://kentfilmoffice.co.uk/kent-movie-map/moviemap-live-2/


Great Expectations (1946)

Great Expectations Abel Magwitch grabbing a young Pip by the neck at a graveyard

Great Expectations

Directed By: David Lean

Written By: Charles Dickens (Novel) & David Lean (Adaptation)

Starring: John Mills, Valerie Hobson, Tony Wager, Bernard Miles and Martita Hunt

Production Company: Cineguild, National Symphony Orchestra

Kent Locations Used: St Mary’s Marshes, The River Medway

Great Expectations was the first of David Lean’s two adaptations of Dickens’ classic novels (Oliver Twist followed in 1948).  The film tells the story of young Pip (Tony Wager), a good natured orphan, who lives with kind blacksmith Joe Gargery (Bernard Miles) and his often abusive wife “Mrs. Joe”. Whilst visiting the graves of his deceased parents he meets an escaped convict named Abel Magwitch. In fear for his life Pip agrees to get the man some food before he is discovered and captured again.

Pip’s fortunes appear to change with the arrival of Miss Havisham (Martita Hunt) in his life. A tragic recluse, Miss Havisham lives in one room in her large house surrounded by memorabilia from her ill-fated wedding. Inviting Pip to her home to amuse her, she encourages her spiteful daughter Estella to break his heart. Eventually Pip (John Mills) attracts the attention of a mysterious benefactor who  pays for him to travel to London and learn to be a gentleman in the hope of him achieving his “great expectations”.

Restoration House in Rochester was Dicken’s inspiration for“Satis House”, the decaying mansion of Miss Havisham. Faithful to Dicken’s, the production carefully reproduced Restoration House in Denham Sudios in Buckinghamshire. Restoration House is the amalgamation of two medieval buildings that were combined in the 16th or 17th century. A Grade 1 listed building, it is rumoured that Charles II stayed there the night before he was restored to the throne, thus giving the building its name.

The River Medway and the adjacent St Mary’s Marshes appear in scenes where Pip and his friend, Herbert Pocket, row their boat to a small inn whilst waiting for the Paddlesteamer to arrive. Their boat later crashes into the Paddlesteamer in one of the most dramatic scenes in the film. The Paddlesteamer used in the film is called the The Empress which was owned by Weymouth Company Cosens & Co and brought down to Kent especially for the shoot. It is often confused with the Kent based “Kingswear Castle” Paddlesteamer that featured in the BBC 1999 drama of Great Expectations and the 1998 drama of Our Mutual Friend. The Kingswear Castle is still in use today and offers members of the public tours along the river starting at its base at The Historic Dockyard in Chatham.

Sheila Townsend’s Grandad, Jimmy Ennew, was a freeman of the river Medway and rented his row boat ‘The Ivy’ to the production team for filming.  Sheila was 14yrs old at the time and remembers the excitement of sitting on the pier watching the filming.

Although the film features several important Kent locations, the novel on which the adaptation was based showcases many more. The church where Pip visits the graves of his deceased parents and has his first terrifying encounter with Magwitch was based on St James’ Church in Cooling. In the novel, Dickens mentions 5 lozenge shaped graves where Pip’s brothers were buried. It is believed that he was inspired by the 13 graves of the same shape within the church graveyard.

The tranquil park behind Rochester Cathedral, once a vineyard planted by monks from St Andrews Priory, is a convenient route for modern day tourists visiting the Cathedral to visit Restoration House in Crow Lane. In Dickens’ time the location was an open space and in his Great Expectations novel he chose it to form the last part of Pip’s regular route to visit Miss Havisham and Estella. Dickens based the character of Miss Havisham on an old woman who was his neighbour at his childhood home of Number 2 (now number 11) Ordnance Terrace in Chatham.

Great Expectations was released in 1946 and is available on DVD.

Links

For more information on filming in Kent please contact: filmoffice@kent.gov.uk

For more information on the film: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038574/?ref_=nv_sr_4

For more information on Restoration House: http://www.restorationhouse.co.uk/

For more information on the River Medway: http://www.visitmedway.org

MMFor more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map: http://kentfilmoffice.co.uk/kent-movie-map/moviemap-live-2/